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Thread: Lighting a Family Room

  1. #1
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    Lighting a Family Room

    I'm getting ready to wire a new family room addition. The room will be about 25 by 25 feet with a sloped ceiling with two gable ends that will be painted white. Originally they figured on general lighting being 4-6 recess cans but they really don't like the look of recess on a sloped ceiling. Unless the recess have a gimbal mount the light doesn't even point down except for ones made to do that. I have only seen them in 6" recess. I don't know anybody that wants 6" recess any more.

    They are asking me if they can install some lighting on two sides of the room where the wall meets the sloped ceiling and have light shine up towards the peak to light up the ceiling. They are picturing the fixtures being hidden behind some type of cove moulding so they would not be visible from the floor. Anybody have any suggestions?

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by mkgrady View Post
    I'm getting ready to wire a new family room addition. The room will be about 25 by 25 feet with a sloped ceiling with two gable ends that will be painted white. Originally they figured on general lighting being 4-6 recess cans but they really don't like the look of recess on a sloped ceiling. Unless the recess have a gimbal mount the light doesn't even point down except for ones made to do that. I have only seen them in 6" recess. I don't know anybody that wants 6" recess any more.

    They are asking me if they can install some lighting on two sides of the room where the wall meets the sloped ceiling and have light shine up towards the peak to light up the ceiling. They are picturing the fixtures being hidden behind some type of cove moulding so they would not be visible from the floor. Anybody have any suggestions?
    We did something like this for our bathroom remodel. If you had to get up in the middle of the night we didn't want to be blinded when going about your business. We had the building construct an "L"-shaped soffit with the vertical leg on the room side. He put an open fluorescent fixture in the soffit. The light bounced off the ceiling without putting daggers in your eyes and it worked well.

    Depending on the activities they intend to engage in, this might not provide enough illumination even if you wrap the room with fixtures all around. But then again, it might. You'd have to find some way to model how much reflected light would reach the floor or working height based on the light source, beam spread, and surface reflectivity. Maybe your lighting supply house has a program to do this?

  3. #3
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    If you are in a state or locality with energy efficiency requirements any form of indirect lighting may have serious problems meeting those energy efficiency standards.
    You can use energy efficient fixtures, but the overall wattage required to get the light level you need may be too high.

  4. #4
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    And you better have really good carpenters, lumber and drywall crew because that's going to light up every imperfection. We call it "lamping the walls" in high end construction where you temporarily put a light source right against a wall or ceiling surface to mark imperfections for the trades to correct their minor imperfections.

    I've never been a fan of track lighting but for this application I think I'd see what's out there that might fit the room.
    You make the lights come on and we make them go off.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by mgookin View Post
    And you better have really good carpenters, lumber and drywall crew because that's going to light up every imperfection. We call it "lamping the walls" in high end construction where you temporarily put a light source right against a wall or ceiling surface to mark imperfections for the trades to correct their minor imperfections.

    I've never been a fan of track lighting but for this application I think I'd see what's out there that might fit the room.
    We must have lucked out on the carpenter and dry wall crew.

    With a 12.5 foot throw, I'd be concerned with hot and dark spots all over the place. I'm thinking that some high end pendant fixtures are the real solution here.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by mgookin View Post
    And you better have really good carpenters, lumber and drywall crew because that's going to light up every imperfection. We call it "lamping the walls" in high end construction where you temporarily put a light source right against a wall or ceiling surface to mark imperfections for the trades to correct their minor imperfections.

    I've never been a fan of track lighting but for this application I think I'd see what's out there that might fit the room.
    This is seeming to be pretty hard to do what they are asking for all the reasons stated. Thanks guys.

    I have seen track lighting used this way and it does light up a ceiling but the light is very uneven when standard heads are used. Not sure if that is what you meant.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by mkgrady View Post
    This is seeming to be pretty hard to do what they are asking for all the reasons stated. Thanks guys.

    I have seen track lighting used this way and it does light up a ceiling but the light is very uneven when standard heads are used. Not sure if that is what you meant.
    What I read from that was the likely unevenness of the lighting on floor and furniture when downward directed track lighting was used from a low ceiling. A lot depends on the beam angle of both the bulbs and the fixtures used.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by GoldDigger View Post
    What I read from that was the likely unevenness of the lighting on floor and furniture when downward directed track lighting was used from a low ceiling. A lot depends on the beam angle of both the bulbs and the fixtures used.
    That's why I suggested pendant (fluorescent-type) fixtures. Maybe something like this.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by mkgrady View Post
    I'm getting ready to wire a new family room addition. The room will be about 25 by 25 feet with a sloped ceiling with two gable ends that will be painted white. Originally they figured on general lighting being 4-6 recess cans but they really don't like the look of recess on a sloped ceiling. Unless the recess have a gimbal mount the light doesn't even point down except for ones made to do that. I have only seen them in 6" recess. I don't know anybody that wants 6" recess any more.

    They are asking me if they can install some lighting on two sides of the room where the wall meets the sloped ceiling and have light shine up towards the peak to light up the ceiling. They are picturing the fixtures being hidden behind some type of cove moulding so they would not be visible from the floor. Anybody have any suggestions?
    I'd ask them. We still do 5/6" cans, much more than 4" ones. Nothing wrong with gimbal lights. If the ceiling has a steep slope, you may want higher wattage lights on the upper 2 or 3 cans, or a separate dimmer switch for them. They have gimbal LED trims for 5" cans:

    http://www.cooperindustries.com/cont...s/_851514.html

    imho, track lighting in such an application looks hideous. Uplighting from a soffit gets more exponentially more complicated if the ceiling isnt a rectangle; light/dark spots are a real problem. Besides, most people want to light the room, not the ceiling.

    Pendants can look good tho I wouldnt want a long drop anywhere near a ceiling fan or register; the slightest air current will cause swaying.

    What about nice wall sconces, like you'd see in a hotel?
    Electricians do it until it Hertz!

  10. #10
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    This is a job for a lighting design specialist.

    Some installers are maybe closer to being called that then others though.

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